IMDb Ratings Breakdown

I don’t know if anybody besides me ever bothers to have a look at the ratings breakdowns on the IMDb. I love statistics, and these can often be surprising–or if not surprising, at least somehow insightful.

I’m sure it comes as no surprise that The Twilight Saga: Eclipse rates a 6.7 average with females and only a 4.1 with males, but what was interesting to me is how consistent female ratings are across age groups. Females under 18 rate it a 7.0 on average, while females ages 45+ rate it a 6.8. You see a much greater dip with males, as the under 18 crowd is willing to give it 5.4, while the over 45 crowd really hates it, with a 3.9.

In other news, Inception tracks almost exactly equally with both males and females–it’s kind of uncanny. The only thing to note here is that the average rating peaks for 18-29 year-olds, then starts falling again, with a difference of about 1.3 stars between the 20-somethings and the 45+ crowd. The IMDb Top 1000 voters give it a 7.2, which is 2.1 stars off the average 9.3 for all users (they liked The Dark Knight better with an 8.0).

Salt is, apparently, scoring better with women than with men, though perhaps not too significantly. It’s most obvious in the under 18 crowd. Though it’s weird that 17 year old males wouldn’t rate this film highly just purely on Angelina Jolie’s beauty. Kids today. Feh! The IMDb Top 1000 don’t like this film at all. 5.7.

Predators. If you’re under 18, you love the hell out of this film. If you’re older, you’re not as enthralled. Interestingly, this film gets a 7.0 with the Top 1000. I’d love to know who these Top 1000 are. IMDb won’t tell you, I guess because they don’t want people competing to be one of them.

Star Trek. Females 18-29 actually liked it more than males in the same age group.

Iron Man 2. Women seem to actually like it a little better, but maybe that’s merely because the only women who actually went to see it were already predisposed to like it; 44,000+ guys rated the film, and only 5,500+ women rated it. That said, this isn’t terribly uncommon. Men either watch a hell of a lot more movies than women, or they simply care more about rating them. Even a film like Eclipse has more ratings by men than by women. It’s kind of weird, actually. Pick the girliest movie you can possibly imagine and check the breakdowns, and you’ll probably find that twice as many men have voted as women.

Annnnyway…

After a while, you begin to see trends emerging. For example, older users almost always like movies less than younger viewers–or at any rate, they’re more sparing with their 8-,9-, and 10-star ratings. Then there are things that are unpredictable, like how the IMDb Top 1000 voters are going to go.

Again, I might be the only person who’s interested in this.

Spoilers: Inception

If you intend to see Christopher Nolan’s film Inception some day, then you probably will not want to continue through to rest of this post, in which I intend to succinctly spoil the ending.

You have been warned. Continue reading “Spoilers: Inception”

Spoiler Alert

Here’s something I’ve been meaning to do for a while. I’m going to totally spoil the ending of films with final act twists. Don’t worry…I’ll hide the spoilers behind a “Read More” link.

It has been bothering me for a while that there isn’t really a good place to go to simply find out what happens at the end of a film that you don’t intend to ever see. For example, I’m curious about the twist ending of M. Night Shyamalan’s film The Happening, but not so much that I’m willing to actually sit through it. But when I do sit through such a film, I’ll just come here and spoil it for anybody who’d rather not spend their time.

Avengers Movie Cast Revealed

Just stumbled upon this article. Honestly, I’m not even certain why they’re making an Avengers film, and at the moment, I’m not looking forward to it. I don’t particularly want to see some cinematic hybrid of the classic Avengers and the Ultimates (I’m assuming the tone here).

Anyway, here are a few notable cast members:

  • Chris Evans as Captain America. Man…I don’t know. Evans won me over early in his career by being a lot of fun to watch in films like Cellular and Fantastic Four, but as Captain America? I don’t know. I just don’t know.
  • Scarlet Johanssen as Black Widow. Reprising her role from Iron Man 2. Fair enough, but I found her to be sort of a weak link in IM2. I’m not a huge fan.
  • Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk? Okay, I guess.

For a more detailed response to this news, see my friend Donald’s post on Blessed are the Geeks.

The Next Great, Yet Kind of Dumb, Action Film

Salt or Predators. What to do? What to do?

The diversity of opinions on both of these films has me intrigued. I’d love to see both of them, honestly, though more realistically, I will see neither until they’re on DVD.

I’m trying to think of the last great, yet kind of dumb, action movie I saw. Maybe Taken? I love movies in that vein, that never slow down long enough for you to question the illogicality or improbability of it all. Films that don’t overtly insult your intelligence, but at least set everything up in a coherent way, then toss enough twists and turns at you, hitting all the correct beats, to prove that they intimately understand the requirements of their genre without any of it really mattering. In other words, dumb, but in a smart way.

(On a side note, it bugs the heck out of me when people can’t reconcile the notion that a movie can be both dumb and smart. I was just reading a review of Taken on the IMDb in which one of the guy’s major complaints was that Neeson’s character had to break a window to get into the apartment from which his daughter had been abducted–“wouldn’t the kidnappers have left the door unlocked?”, the reviewer says (paraphrased). Talk about missing the point. Who really gives a half a shit about that?)

Salt seems to fit that bill, but I don’t know…a lot of times when people go strongly one way or the other, you just end up feeling disappointed when it turns out to be something in between. I’d be lying if I said that Roger Ebert’s four-star review didn’t raise an eyebrow, since I was already inclined to want to see it.

At the same time, I’ve unapologetically enjoyed all of the Predator films, and I like the simple premise of Predators, so it’s difficult to imagine how I could be disappointed. It’s bizarre to me reading reviews of Predators, in which the reviewers will harp upon the film for having weak characterization or something. As if the original Predator film had been penned by Shakespeare. It’s a bunch of bad-asses in a jungle being hunted by alien predators. What the hell did you expect? Ordinary People?

It would be nice if you could buy an all-day pass to the movie theater.

(500) Days of Summer

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

(500) Days of Summer feels a bit like a less dreary companion piece to He’s Just Not That Into You–except from the male perspectivein that it explores how women–though not being intentionally cruel–will nevertheless rip out your still-beating heart and show it to you, then go off and marry some other guy and expect that you can still be friends. I didn’t love it, but it wasn’t bad either.

The Good:

  • The juxtaposition of scenes of the characters after the break-up and before the break-up is consistently amusing, and it isn’t purely a gimmick–it does help to tell the story.1
  • There are other cute narrative devices employed, such as a clever bit in which the protagonist’s expectations are matched up side-by-side with the reality. It requires a bit of focus on the part of the audience to watch the two scenes play out simultaneously, but it’s effective and identifiable. I do wish the filmmakers would have pushed the comedy a little harder on that, however. Some viewers might think this is too gimmicky, but I appreciated its dramatic intent.
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt isn’t the typical Hollywood pretty-boy and Zooey Deschanel isn’t the typical Hollywood pretty-girl. That enhances their believability as regular folks who make stupid decisions, go on to delude themselves this way or that, and then pay the price of their foolishness…or don’t.
  • Some amusing bits are scattered throughout the film that are quite recognizable as the ill-conceived sorts of things men do in order to try to attract a woman. Pathetic, but true, there’s a great bit early on when JGL’s character, Tom, explains to his friends why he’s certain that Summer isn’t interested. He gave her plenty of chances, he says. Cut to a scene in which Tom spots Summer leaving work past his cubicle (though on the other side of the room) and starts playing on his computer a song by a band she likes, hoping that she’ll be lured over as if by the Pied Piper. Instead, she continues on, neck never even bending in his direction. These little touches are nicely observed and remind me of why I’m so lucky to be married and beyond all of that desperate behavior. I still recall being in college and, for example, refilling my drink in the cafeteria always at the same time as this or that girl on whom I had a crush that week. Cute girls never notice your “sly” efforts.
  • By and large, the musical cues worked well in establishing mood and an overall quirky flavor for the film.

The Bad:

  • It was a bit over-the-top for me. If any man truly fell all to pieces like this (“utterly abject” is a way to describe it) over a break-up with a girl he had known for less than a year, it would be time to call in the men in the white coats. I’m well aware that this was a comedy, but every scene of Tom throwing some outward or inner tantrum subtracted from the emotional weight of the film. You expect this sort of overreaction in a Farrelly Brothers comedy, but not as much in a quirky, independent-type film. It makes the film feel as if it were written by and for young 20-somethings–and perhaps it was–but I wish I’d seen more subtlety.
  • On the subject of that, neither of the main characters was particularly likable to me. I disliked Summer almost from the start, in fact, when she tells Tom that she doesn’t believe in love or relationships. What sort of woman doesn’t believe in love or relationships? Any woman who tells you that is full of baloney. So it annoyed me–knowing Tom was inclined to romantic over-inflation–she nevertheless drew him into her web thinking that she could dictate terms for both of them about what it should mean. And if I’m being honest, Zooey Deschanel isn’t so intrinsically lovable that I was willing to forgive her character. One scene in particular–in which, after months of hand holding and dating and sleeping together and whispering sweet nothings in each other’s ear, she surprises Tom by telling him that they’re only friends–had me wanting to throttle her. To be certain, she pulled it off so well that it probably hit a little too close to home for me–she delivers it with a conversation-ending coldness, the implied meaning of which is obvious: no matter how desperately you plead for consideration based upon what you once shared, her mind is made up absolutely that showing even an ounce of warmth or reciprocation would seem to be sending the wrong message. As if suddenly turning completely off is an act of kindness. It’s actually not–it’s really just damn insulting. Tom’s explosive reaction is actually appropriate here, since dealing with a woman who has locked down like this is akin to attempting to move an unmovable object. In any event, I recommend watching the underrated Yes Man after this film to improve your outlook on Zooey Deschanel.
  • Some of the narrative idiosyncrasies didn’t work as well as others. For example, the actual narration that is weaved in and out of the film somewhat erratically. Each time it happens, it essentially stops the film and detaches you from whatever spark of realism managed to engage you. It’s a gag that probably worked better on paper.

Worth watching, but it won’t change your life or anything. There’s enough good material here, however, that every guy should be able to see himself reflected to some extent in the protagonist (not so much the ancillary characters, since they’re all just that: ancillary and not very interesting). In retrospect, (500) Days of Summer feels a little bit like a fluff piece, but at least it has some personality and avoids a lot of the standard romantic comedy cliches. Ultimately, I think the message is probably a valuable one, even if somewhat simplistically realized here: life goes on.

—-

1 – After writing out this post, I read Roger Ebert’s review, and he explains well why this storytelling technique works.

We never remember in chronological order, especially when we’re going back over a failed romance. We start near the end, and then hop around between the times that were good and the times that left pain. People always say “start at the beginning,” but we didn’t know at the time it was the beginning. “500 Days of Summer” is a movie that works that way.

The Inception Backlash, Continued

If you think I was hard on the film, you should check out what some professional critics have said.

The worst of them is probably the borderline-insane Rex Reed:

Writer-director Nolan is an elegant Hollywood hack from London whose movies are a colossal waste of time, money and I.Q. points. “Elegant” because his work always has a crisp use of color, shading and shadows, and “hack” because he always takes an expensive germ of an idea, reduces it to a series of cheap gimmicks and shreds it through a Cuisinart until it looks and sounds like every other incoherent empty B-movie made by people who haven’t got a clue about plot, character development or narrative trajectory.

I’m not certain I like at all being even remotely in this guy’s company, because even apart from the fact that Reed is absurdly vitriolic, I don’t particularly agree with any of that. My major complaint is that I wanted to love Inception and wound up merely liking it. I fall more in line with Christopher Orr of The Atlantic:

For all its elegant construction, Inception is a film in which nothing feels comparably at stake. (In this it resembles Nolan’s The Prestige, another admirably heady tale of perception and reality that never quite found a hearty emotional grip.) The dangers that loom with the failure of Cobb’s mission range from the inconsequential (Saito’s firm goes out of business!) to the inauthentic (Cobb won’t be able to return to pretty, talismanic children he was forced to abandon: parenthood as MacGuffin). The sorrow of Cobb and Mal’s doomed marriage, too, for all of Cotillard’s hypnotic allure, feels nonetheless remote, a motivation in search of real meaning.

He praised the film more than I would (earlier in his review, obviously), but he’s dead on with this bit.

Why I Love David Duchovny (and Jonathan Katz)

As a rule, these Dr. Katz clips on YouTube are pretty damn funny. To be sure, I prefer the improvised stuff to the straight-forward stand-up routines, which is why this bit with David Duchovny is so endlessly amusing to me–you can’t predict where this scene is going.

And I just generally love when actors play caricatures of themselves, like whenever somebody famous appears on “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and invariably turns out to be a raging asshole of some variety or another.

5 out of 44 users found this post useful

The following complaint isn’t leveled exclusively at users of the Internet Movie Database (for example, you see the same exact thing on Amazon.com), but just the same, I think that amongst IMDb users, it’s about as bad as or worse than anywhere else. I’m referring to users marking all negative reviews as “not useful” to ensure that they get pushed down further and further on the default (“Best”) view.

There are reviews by users of the IMDb that are by most measures as good as anything you’d find in a professional publication–reviews that dissect the filmmaking techniques, the characters, the drama, use of symbolism, irony, framing sequences, other storytelling devices, etc. By any possible measure of “usefulness”, these would be considered useful by any rational human being attempting to make an informed decision about whether or not to see a film, or even what they should think about it after seeing it. And yet if it’s not the mainstream trend: “2 out of 25 people found this review useful”. Every time.

Why is it that so many people can’t deal with any negativity? That they will actually go out of their way to try to marginalize or outright subjugate any point of view that’s different from their own? I’m sorry…if you engage in this sort of behavior, you’re just a petty douchebag.

I typically set my view on the user comments page to “Chronological”, because “Best” is pretty much useless–all you ever see are the glowing reviews. But occasionally, I like setting my view to “Love/Hate”, which alternates positive reviews and negative reviews. You end up having a far more balanced assessment of almost any film that way.